Life is a series of choices; some are trivial and others heavy with
consequence. Some are just plain fun, like deciding which car to drive
when leaving home for the day (or evening). More often than not, it was an
amusing act that could set the tone and supply context for whatever
adventure was in store.
One day, I was going to lunch at The Brown
Derby in Hollywood with an aspiring writer who, at the time, was a
bartender at Matthew Ettinger's nightclub the Plush Bunny. On that day, I
threw the decision to him about which car to drive. The selection
included the GTO, a standard steel-bodied, dark blue S-Type Bentley and a
silver and black James Young-bodied, R-Type Bentley. He chose the
R-Type; I think he liked the understated elegance of the James Young
lines and the rich burled walnut dash and trim complementing the
sumptuous leather upholstery--an appropriate conveyance for two
gentlemen on their way to a proper luncheon. After lunch, we exchanged
the Bentley for the Ferrari and spent the rest of the day tear-assing
around L.A. in the GTO.
One evening, Matthew Ettinger and I
decided to drive to Palm Springs for dinner (4 hours round trip) with
our girlfriends. We could have taken the GTO and Breadvan, as you might
expect we would, but that night we took the James Young R-Type. I don't
know why because the road from L.A. to Palm Springs is great for
traveling at high speeds and cutting up the moving chicanes also known
as freeway traffic. In any case, we all went together in the Bentley and
sang songs in the car (not) and as Matthew explored a running
stream-of-consciousness that touched upon lugubrious comestibles
(butter, for example) and other less quotable topics in a desultory
fashion, I held the Bentley rock steady and true at over 90 mph in the
pouring rain until we reached Palm Canyon Drive. When Matthew and I were
out together, dinner was always something of an articulated, three-ring
event often conscripting diners we hadn't previously met and by the
time we closed the restaurant, the rain had stopped so I didn't have to
drive quite so carefully on the way home.
During a later era, my
selection included a Maserati Quattroporte, two Maserati Mistrals and a
bright yellow, 327 Corvette Stingray with mag wheels. Each of these
would set a different tone and tenor for the outing--even the two Mistrals
had different personalities, if you can imagine, one being a little more
raucous than the other. I really liked the Quattroporte--a series one
with the rectangular headlights--and would sometimes go for rides up the
coast at night and my father would come along. I liked this car so much
that I drove it in spite of not knowing where to find reverse. A week
or so after it arrived from Italy, I finally found reverse in a
spring-loaded position alongside first gear; until that moment, I would
have to push the car out of parking spaces or park at the curb in a red
zone (leaving an 'out of gas/gone for gas' note on the windshield) where
I wouldn't need to back up to leave.
You might think that
deciding upon the right car for going on a date would be something of a
fine art but, apart from a landmark occasion when I was working in Palm
Springs on Dean Martin's film The Wrecking Crew where I suspect
that the Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso may have had an influence on a woman
in her thirties accepting my teen-aged invitation to dinner, I never got
the impression the car I was driving factored into the situation.
one occasion, I was on a first date with a very attractive woman and I
was inexplicably driving a seven-year-old Chevrolet Corvair with (very)
leaky seals that was pumping large quantities of oil onto the engine
and exhaust pipes. It was a real treat for those keen on the smell of
burning fossil fuels and the theater of stopping at red lights and
having a mile or so of trailing smoke catch up with the car and engulf
it was spectacular to say the least. Finally, my date asked me if the
car was on fire. "Not yet," I told her.
I found that if you drive whatever car you have as though it were a Ferrari, there will never be a dull moment and who can ask for more than that?
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...